Web 1.0

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Web 1.0 (1991-2003) is a retronym which refers to the state of the World Wide Web, and any website design style used before the advent of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Web 1.0 began with the release of the WWW to the public in 1991, and is the general term that has been created to describe the Web before the "bursting of the Dot-com bubble" in 2001, which is seen by many as a turning point for the internet.

Since 2004, Web 2.0 has been the term used to describe the current age of the Internet. [1]

[2] It is easiest to formulate a sense of the term Web 1.0 when it is used in relation to the term Web 2.0, to compare the two and offer examples of each.



Terry Flew, in his 3rd Edition of New Media described what he believed to characterize the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0:

"move from personal websites to blogs and blog site aggregation, from publishing to participation, from web content as the outcome of large up-front investment to an ongoing and interactive process, and from content management systems to links based on tagging (folksonomy)".

Flew believed it to be the above factors that form the basic change in trends that resulted in the onset of the Web 2.0 craze.[3]

The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 can be seen as a result of technological refinements, which included such adaptations as "broadband, improved browsers, and Ajax, to the rise of Flash application platforms and the mass development of widgetization, such as Flickr and YouTube badges".[4]

As well as such adjustments to the internet, the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is a direct result of the change in the behaviour of those who use the World Wide Web. Web 1.0 trends included worries over privacy concerns resulting in a one-way flow of information, through websites which contained "read-only" material. Widespread computer illiteracy and slow internet connections added to the restrictions of the internet, which characterised Web 1.0.[4] Now, during Web 2.0, the use of the Web can be characterized as the decentralization of website content, which is now generated from the "bottom-up", with many users being contributors and producers of information, as well as the traditional consumers.

To take an example from above, Personal web pages were common in Web 1.0, and these consisted of mainly static pages hosted on free hosting services such as Geocities. Nowadays, dynamically generated blogs and social networking profiles, such as Myspace and Facebook, are more popular, allowing for readers to comment on posts in a way that was not available during Web 1.0.

At the Technet Summit in November 2006, Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, stated a simple formula for defining the phases of the Web:

Web 1.0 was dial-up, 50K average bandwidth, Web 2.0 is an average 1 megabit of bandwidth and Web 3.0 will be 10 megabits of bandwidth all the time, which will be the full video Web, and that will feel like Web 3.0.

Reed Hastings

Web 1.0 design elements

Some typical design elements of a Web 1.0 site include:

  • Static pages instead of dynamic user-generated content.[5]
  • The use of framesets.
  • Proprietary HTML extensions such as the <blink> and <marquee> tags introduced during the first browser war.
  • Online guestbooks.
  • GIF buttons, typically 88x31 pixels in size promoting web browsers and other products.[6]
  • HTML forms sent via email. A user would fill in a form, and upon clicking submit their email client would attempt to send an email containing the form's details.[7]

See also


  1. http://www.moveo.com/data/White_Papers/GettingThere_Dave_103006.pdf
  2. O'Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Retrieved 3 September, 2008 from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html
  3. Flew, Terry. (2008). New Media: An Introduction (3rd Edition). Melbourne: Oxford University Press
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hinchcliffe, Dion. (2006). All We Got Was Web 1.0, when Tim Berners-Lee Actually Gave Us Web 2.0. Retrieved from http://web2.socialcomputingmagazine.com/all_we_got_was_web_10_when_tim_bernerslee_actually_gave_us_w.htm
  5. Web 1.0 defined - How stuff works
  6. Web 1.0 Revisited - Too many stupid buttons
  7. WEBalley - forms tutorial
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